Assets of AVM Atawodi Forfeited ‘Interimly’ by Court
Justice Anwuli Chikere of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday, June 11, 2020, ordered the interim forfeiture of $228,428.16( Two Hundred and Twenty Eight Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty Eight United States Dollars, Sixteen Cents) and N120, 546,042.02( One Hundred and Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Forty Six and Forty Two Naira, Two Kobo), including a property located at Plot No. 3004 Cadastral Zone E05, Aviation Village, District Abuja recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from retired Air Vice Marshal (AVM), Salu Atawodi, Atawodi Winnie and Vector Integrated Services Ltd.
The property and monies were traced to AVM Salu Atawodi, Atawodi Winnie and Vector Integrated Services Ltd in an application brought by the Commission, seeking an interim forfeiture order of the sum and the property recovered by the Commission and said to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Justice Chidere gave the order following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC, in pursuant to section 44 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
Prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, in the application, asked the court to direct a publication of the interim order, in the name of the persons in whose possession the property and funds sought to be forfeited, in any national newspaper, and cause them to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days, why the final order of forfeiture of the property and monies mentioned should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Chidere after granting all the prayers adjourned the case to June 30, 2020, for continuation of the case.
Head, Media & Publicity
EFCC Quizzes Ortom’s Aide Over Alleged N42m Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Makurdi Zonal Office has commenced investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds to the tune of N42million, involving an aide of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hembah (retired).
Hembah, who is Governor Ortom’s Special Adviser on Security Matters allegedly abused his office on July 12, 2019 when he transferred a sum of N42million from the official account of his office to his personal bank account and withdrew the same in cash the same day. The said sum was meant for disbursement to Benue State Vigilante Group, BSVG.
The governor’s aide between October 2018 and May 2020 also allegedly abused his office by fraudulently paying the N20million monthly allocation meant for BSVG into the personal account of the Commandant of the group, George Mbessey instead of using the official account of the group.
The alleged offence, if established, violates Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.
Hembah, who was quizzed for over six hours on Wednesday, volunteered useful information to EFCC investigators and would be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are concluded.
It would be recalled that the EFCC on May 27, 2020 arrested the State Commandant of the Benue State Vigilante Group, George Mbessey in connection with alleged mismanagement of the N449.5million meant for the Benue State Vigilante Group, BSVG.
Head, Media &